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Read Introduction to 1 Corinthians


“But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.”


But one and the same Spirit works all these things,

The word “all” summarizes verses eight through 10. The Holy Spirit works in the distribution and operation of all the gifts. The word “works” means energizes, carrying the idea of giving dynamic to the use of gifts.

distributing to each one individually as He wills.

God distributes to each Christian gifts at the point of salvation. “Distributing” is handing out. He hands out these gifts “individually,” that is, separately. “Each one” also indicates this. He does not hand out gifts to groups.

This is the fifth reference to the Holy Spirit as the distributor of gifts so far in this chapter. We do not seek gifts, for their assignment is wholly at the initiative of the Holy Spirit.


God’s gifts are not gifts on demand.


The believer does not have the option to choose from a smorgasbord of gifts because the distribution of gifts is the prerogative of the Holy Spirit. We cannot select which gifts we prefer. Because the Holy Spirit gives the gift, it makes the gift valuable. If the President of the United States were to give us a gift, that would make the gift valuable by virtue of who gave the gift, and we would treasure it. God almighty gave us gifts, so we should highly treasure our gifts.

The reason we do not have the same mixture of gifts as in the New Testament is that the Holy Spirit sovereignly deems that we need a different mixture today. The Holy Spirit operates with diversity in unity. He knows which gifts are the most appropriate for each believer and each church for each generation.

The Holy Spirit does not expect us to go to church like some people watch professional sports. He does not want us to operate like spectators commending or condemning according to the score. God expects us to go down on the playing field. If we do, we will appreciate some of the problems involved in making a good play. That will temper some of our criticisms. Those who criticize, for the most part, are those in the stands spiritually. They are the most harping critics.                           

God expects a return on His investment. God has a lot invested in us and has a great stake in His design for us. If we neglect our gifts or abuse them, it reflects on God. When our children go badly, it reflects on us. It is a shallow life if we live for recreation, cutting our grass, and painting our house.